Saturday, April 30, 2011

Birthday Week Galore

Two birthdays two years and two days apart with children of the same gender present it's own unique set of fun and challenges.
All 4 of my children were born on major small town celebration weekends.
Precious Jewel's birthday falls on the weekend that our little town holds it's annual Christmas Parade, Downtown lighting and Christmas Home Tours. It takes up pretty much the entire weekend and makes it difficult to plan for a birthday party.
Why not the week before?
The week after?
The last week of school and then everyone heads out for Christmas Vacation.

Mr. Smiles and Good Lookin' were both born the weekend of our town's Spring Craft Festival.
Up until two years ago, Mr. Smiles thought the weekend-long celebration was in honor of him.
It sorta' burst their bubbles when they realized that even if they hadn't been born that weekend, there would still have been some sort of Festival.
It also presents challenges in the planning arena.

Labor Day weekend was the weekend our last little munchkin was born.
In fact, our Dr. graciously offered to up the C-section by 2 days so he could still go boating with his family.
Wasn't that nice?

Doing a Dual Birthday party with two boys of very different personalities and tastes presents a unique challenge and a bit of skillful manipulation on my part every year.
Mr. Smiles and Good Lookin' celebrated their first party together the day Good Lookin' came home from the hospital on Mr. Smiles 2nd birthday. Both were too little to care.
The next birthday we did a combined Thomas Party for the 2 boys. Once again, still young enough that they didn't care what I picked.
The year after they wanted very different themes and I scratched my head as to how to pull that one off.
Lightning McQueen and Rescue Heroes.
A divided table with a whole lot of colored streamers worked well.
For Mr Smiles 5th and Good Lookin's 3rd we tried 2 separate parties on back-to-back weekends.
People came to one and not the other.
That didn't fly to well.
Last year Good Lookin' (my introvert) just wanted 1 friend and to have his party at Grandmama's house.
Easy Peasy.
Mr Smiles (my ever-so-outgoing extrovert) wanted EVERY CHILD in our church to come.
(Fortunately we go to a small church).
20+ kids and parents in attendance left me with a sugar and noise induced headache but very happy that he was happy. He LOVED it.
That brings us to this year.
Both boys asked for STAR WARS
YES! The same theme!!

I had also just recently stumbled across another mom's blog where she had just done a STAR WARS party for her triplets.
She had this AWESOME idea for party favors that didn't break the bank. Pool Noodles turned Light Sabers.
I totally went for it!

The week snuck up on me a whole lot faster than I was ready for and I had no cake planned.
I like to decorate my kid's cakes. I'm not a decorator and have never taken a class, but it's a lot of fun.
Once again, I waded into the mom world of facebook and begged off more ideas. I can't link to the person's facebook page for you to see the original inspiration, but it was pretty cool.
The boy's first reaction: "I thought you said they'd be fighting each other."

The light sabers: A HUGE SUCCESS
There was some pretty serious yelling, hollering, running around and dueling taking place in our front yard and in the paths Luke had mowed through our trees.

Luke and his dad waded out into the yard with all the boys and went crazy.
I had never seen his dad have quite so much with all the pool noodles and short little people running around.
The boys loved it.

I also forgot candles and they each ended up with one bright pink one to blow out.
They were so light-sabered-up that they didn't notice a bit. Whew!!!

The pandemonium of present time wasn't as bad as it has been in years past partly due to some of the little party goers escaping back out the front door to continue their duels.

Have you all seen these BAY BLADES?
I'm not sure I'm even spelling them right.
Both boys were given them by a little friend for their birthdays.
I guess there is a cartoon that goes with them that the boys will never see since we have all cable and satellite shut off to our house, but they LOVE the toys.
They are nothing more that glorified TOPS.
Every single boy eventually ended up back in the kitchen and for a full 30-40 minutes battled it out with their little metal tops dinging and clanging each other out of their plastic arena.
Needless to say, it was a successful birthday weekend.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday Mr. Smiley!!

Another birthday is here this week.
Mr. Smiley has turned 7 years old as of today.
Yes, we have 2 birthdays in the same week.
Sweet sweet Mr Smiley is just that--smiley.
He was a quiet happy baby from the get-go (after he got over the 12 weeks of colic where he screamed for 4-5 hours every evening).

fI spent most of my days walking him around the house with him strapped to my chest hearing his piercing wail in my ear. Precious Jewel was just 16 months old when he came along and was not entirely happy about the interruption to her life. She spent most of his screaming time wrapped around one of my legs letting her own wails be added to the bedlam.
Ah, motherly bliss.
They just don't tell you about this in the baby books do they?
At about 12 weeks, a switch turned off and in about 4-5 days time he stopped crying and became the most contented baby I've had.
I just had to make it through those first 12 weeks of what I affectionately call BABY BOOT CAMP.
You gotta love them, but you sure wish at times you could stuff them back inside and enjoy the quiet again.
His was a pregnancy I was not initially happy about.
Precious Jewel was just 8 months old when I found out I was expecting again and was still not sleeping through the night. We hadn't even been married 2 years and had already had 2 job changes and a big move from another state to our current state.
I cried. I cried a lot.
I cried for weeks.
It wasn't until I was about 5 months along and after praying desperately for God to change my heart that I grew to accept that we were going to welcome another child.
The moment he was born, I was totally in love and have been ever since.
He has been my snuggler, cuddler, Mr Affectionate little guy since the moment we welcomed into this world.

When he was 6 months old and Precious Jewel was 23 months, we flew to Mexico to visit my parents.
Lets just say to blond haired and blue eyed babies caused quite a stir.

His 2nd birthday was celebrated by bringing home his baby brother. We ate cupcakes, sang and shortly everyone went to bed. I was glad he was too little to know the difference.

His 3rd birthday he was all-things-Thomas the Tank Engine.
I got a big washing machine box and painted it like Thomas and decorated our house like a train station.
Thomas lasted 6 weeks and then one day disintegrated when I forgot to bring him inside from the rain.

We celebrated his 4th birthday a little later due to chicken pox. He and Good Lookin' were a still a bit scabby when we held the party, but no longer contagious.

Happy Easter!
(just before his 5th birthday)

Age 6 was the year he played his one and only semester of soccer. He seemed to enjoy it, but when asked if he wanted to do it again this past fall, he asked, "do I have to run again?"
He decided the only thing he liked about soccer was kicking the ball and since he didn't really like the running part that he didn't get to kick it enough.
We opted out of another year of soccer.

Happy 7th Birthday Dear Mr. Smiles!
You bring a smile to my heart every day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Good Lookin'

I can't believe it's here already. Another child of mine is passing that ever-so-growing-up-birthday when they are no longer little anymore.
5 Years Old

Five is a big number in our house.
You are no longer one of the little little kids.
Even if you are not yet in school, 5 is the number of leaving the last of baby and toddler-hood behind.

5 is a Bigger Kids number

Good Lookin's was the most difficult of all my pregnancies.
(That should have given me a clue for what was to come).
I threw up the ENTIRE 9 on nutritional shakes and PediaSure.
At 30 weeks, I went into labor and after doing all the shots to speed up his lungs, monitoring in the hospital and multiple visits to the doctor, I was officially put on complete bed rest for the next 6 weeks.
Did I mention I had a just-turned-3-year-old and 1 year old at home.
Bed Rest?!
I looked at the doctor and laughed and then burst into tears.
My mother flew up from Mexico and spent the next several weeks living with Luke and I and taking care of our little family.
Precious Jewel and Mr. Smiles equated her arrival with my being in bed and hated her.
For the first couple of weeks they did everything in their toddler power to make her go home.
My poor mother cried (a lot).
I felt horrible.
Luke felt horrible.
Precious Jewel and Mr. Smiles were less than precious and smiley.
After a couple of weeks they began to warm up to her and then grew to love her because she loved them in spite of their un-loveliness.
At 36 weeks, I was taken off of bed rest and told I'd have "that baby any day."
We waited and waited and then waited some more.
He didn't come.
Then our house that we had put on the market sold and we face a move the week before he was due.
My mother packed up our whole little apartment and moved us.
We moved into our new little house out in the country and it was crazy trying to unpack and prepare for baby when I could hardly walk.
The child has rested on my pelvic bone for nearly 10 weeks and at my next appointment I asked to be induced 2 days before Mr. Smiles birthday.
I was tired of the 29 weeks of contractions and the inability to sit down or hold my kids.
I was tired of throwing up.
I wanted this baby out!
April 26, 2006, he made a very fast appearance after only about 3 hours of labor.
I felt him moving down and yelled at Luke.
They had just checked me and I was a 6, but about 15 minutes later he made his appearance with one of my feet in the stirrup and the other on Luke's shoulder because they had only just dropped the foot of the bed and tossed it quickly against the wall.
Our doctor wasn't even in his scrubs yet.
I was totally smitten with the sweet new little bundle of love that had wreaked havoc on my body for 9 months.

He was all out there from the beginning.
He had (and still does) the most expressive faces.

We've never had to guess what he's thinking because whatever it is, it's all out there!

His 1st Birthday
(excuse the hilarious picture of Luke. usually it's me with the eyes closed).

His first bite of sugar...and boy did he like it!

His 2nd birthday we combined with Ben's 4th. Both were just recovered (with a few scabs left over) from the chicken pox.
I think we held their birthday's a week later than usual.

The day of his birthday he was still quite spotty.

By his 3rd birthday, he was totally and completely in love with Lightning McQueen.
And he requested the same cake the next year...

...for his 4th. (someone else had blown out his candles and he was NOT HAPPY).

He's grown up a lot in this past year (calmed down a lot too).
We have discovered he definitely has a connection with animals and is usually the one out in the pen helping to care for the animals.

This next year will be another wild adventure with him I am sure.
Life is never dull around this child.
The last 3 birthdays he's had, I've felt like doing a victory lap just for surviving (with my sanity and humor still intact) the year.
Happy 5th Birthday Good Lookin'!!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Easter Garden

Our Easter Garden

I found the idea of making an Easter Garden with our Children's Church Class here.
It was beautiful. They loved putting it together and it helped to bring another piece of the Easter Story alive.
Palm Sunday I wanted to cut a bunch of branches for the children, but after counting the number of children and the number of branches on my own Palm frond, I decided to look for something different.
We trekked to LOWES for the plants and I pulled a large rock out of our yard for Jesus' tomb.
We put it together as a class as part of our story Palm Sunday morning and then waited for the rest of the story for coming Easter Week ahead.

The teacher the next Sunday lit the lights and told the rest of the story in the quiet and candle lit room.
I was unable to be downstairs and get the pictures of all the children in the quiet and dark, but they talked about it the whole way home.

Did I mention that this was the first Easter that Luke has been home for the whole day since before Nathaniel was born?
His work rotation landed on Easter this year and it made the day extra special in spite of me not feeling so hot.
The Garden now graces the front steps for us to remember EVERY DAY when we walked past the reason for His Sacrifice.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Lots of emotions lately. Some things needing prayer. Doesn't help that it's "that time."
Please pray for me. Thanks

Monday, April 11, 2011

On Marriage and Toilet Paper

Have you and your husband ever argued about which way to hang the toilet paper off the toilet paper roll?
(Honestly I don't often have this particular argument because my dear husband seems to be toilet-paper-back-on-the-roll challenged, I am the only one so far in this family that has the special gift of putting the toilet paper back on the roll.
He could care less if it was on the roll, off the roll, over or under the roll. )
But, I've heard from several wives/mothers who do have this silly little argument on whether the toilet paper should hang under..

...or over the roll. (Yes, I folded it all nice and neat for the picture. I used to work in a Bed and Breakfast before getting married and that was a must. Now I'm just happy to even HAVE toilet paper in the bathroom when the time comes to use it).
I'm going to wade in on this great controversy and state that toilet paper should be put on the roll so you have to pull it from under. At least, At least, while there are small impressionable and easily amused little people in the house.

Here is why:
Does anyone else have this problem on a fairly regular basis?
With 5 small, testosterone filled little bodies running around the house ages 4 and under, there is not a day that goes by when something is not pulled off, dumped out, jumped on, or in this case rolled off of whatever it should be left on.
If the toilet paper is loaded to roll from the top, then this is far more likely to happen.
Curious George Syndrome hits and they gleefully watch the pile spin to the floor.
I've even found them wrapped in the roll of toilet paper.
If it's rolled coming from the bottom, I can usually hear them trying to figure it out with the rapid slapping and spinning and giggling that turns into frustrated screams.
It only takes seconds.

Then to add insult to injury, this particular day they thought it would be fun to throw the above pile into the tub and turn on the water.
Hmmmmm......let's see if that fits down the pipes.
One of the above children shoved an ENTIRE roll of toilet paper down the toilet bowl just last week.
It's Mr. Ivory in the above picture (just so you don't panic and think I'm telling on someone else's child).
Yes, this is just a week or so after we'd already called the plumber from his older brother's great adventure that he talked his little friend into going along with.
That said toilet is now duct-taped shut and the handle duct taped until we can again afford to call our beloved plumber friend.
I will continue loading our toilet paper roll so that it comes out the bottom. (No pun intended).
In this case, it saves my sanity and therefore, my marriage.

In Full Spring Swing

The Azaleas are in full bloom!I love Spring!!
(isn't she cute there in front?)
I can tell I am a sunshine person whenever Spring arrives.
I struggle all through winter with the blues feeling down and negative and very Eeyoreish. I think one could even qualify for Eeyore syndrome meds. in winter time.
Then Spring arrives. The grass starts to Green first. Then I see whispers of crocuses and daffodils poking up and then bursting into full bloom overnight. After that, Spring explodes here in the South: Red buds, Cherry Trees, Pear Trees, and now we're onto Dogwoods all going wild in full Spring Swing.
(Can we also say we live in Allergy Central)
I have to bite my nails and hold those reins back to keep from jumping into the garden and planting everything too early. Old Man Winter can kick his last fit as late as the end of April and freeze everything.
But for now, I am reveling in the glorious sunshine, the cool breezes, and the smell of flowers the moment I walk out my front door.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Of Kites and Friends

Yesterday was Kite Flying Day at our local airport. We've tried to go for about 3 years now and it simply hasn't worked out. Well, this year I was determined to take the kids and had their kites all set out and ready to go (I bought cheap plastic kites at the Dollar Store and they've always worked well for us), when Luke checked his phone and found a surprise message.
Our dear friends who stood with us in our wedding were in town and wanted to stop by for a visit! We hadn't seen then since I was pregnant with Nater Mater and I was jumping up and down and Luke was grinning from ear to ear. YES! COME!
So, we took the kids out to the field next to our house (and away from all power lines) and flew our kites until they got to our house.

Even 2 1/2 year old Nater Mater could do it once we showed him how and we got it up in the air for him. He was sooo excited to see "Mater fwying!"

Our friends and their absolutely precious family.

The sun was kinda' bright. : )

All the kids had their own kites, but 2 we discovered didn't have the strings. You get what you pay for, but they did fine sharing.

At one point Mr Smiles got his snagged in a tree. Fortunately is was in the lowest branches or his kite would have been done for.

Nater Mater running through the trees to tell us Mr. Smiles kite was "stuck momma. It stuck."

I'm not a huge fan or Barbie, but I thought this was a pretty cool shot.

I am in love with Spring

And this is what we did after our friends arrived. Nater Mater loved their little guy who is about a year younger and he LOVED being swung upside down by his feet by Mr. H. The girls spent their time in Precious Jewel's room trying on the 101 Princess Dresses that she no longer wears. I've thought about giving them all away or selling them, but we have enough little girls over that still love to wear them that I've kept them and probably will give them to Precious Jewel's daughter some day if she has one.
All in all, it was a wonderful Spring Day.